Part One: Funding models to fuel a lifetime of learning

Updated: Aug 14, 2019

If lifelong learning is the key to ensuring no one is left behind, then how can we make it a reality?

The fourth industrial revolution is creating unforeseen opportunities for people, communities and for business, driven largely by rapid developments in technology. Aside from the technological aspect, other mega trends such as climate change, demographics, and globalization at unprecedented paces are altering the nature of work, the kinds of jobs businesses need, and tasks performed. To thrive in this era, global thought-leaders such as the OECD, the UN and the World Economic Forum, along with the ILO are promoting lifelong learning as a way to ensure that “no one is left behind”.

Research by these organizations and numerous others underline the positive multiplier effect that lifelong learning has on business, communities, and individuals. More recently, the ILO’s Global Commission on the Future of Work proposed a universal entitlement to lifelong learning in its report, as its first recommendation. To achieve this recommendation and make lifelong learning a reality for all segments of society, business, government, policy makers, and individuals must all play a role. One key question is, how do we finance lifelong learning?

In our search for an answer to this question, GAN organized a virtual panel discussion with a few key thought-leaders who are at the heart of transformative change in our labour markets. Bettina Schaller, Head of Global Public Affairs, The Adecco Group, moderated the discussion between:

  • · Priscila Chaves Martinez, Co-founder and Director, Innova10x

  • · Natacha Juda, Director, Inter-professional Council for Training, State of Geneva, Switzerland

  • · Kathryn Porter, Director of Youth Strategy for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Hilton

  • · Takaaki Kizu, Skills and Development Officer, Skills and Employability branch, ILO

These individuals are dealing head on with how to connect people and business with the 21st century skills we need to thrive, especially in an age where technology, demographics, globalization and climate change are impacting the composition of workforces, and the nature of skills that are needed. This discussion particularly explores funding models for lifelong learning, employed by companies and government and delves into the definition and concepts surrounding lifelong learning. Stay tuned for the release of the second part of this article which will focus on the challenges and solutions to enable lifelong learning and the role that business, government, policymakers and individuals can play.

“We need to replenish skills throughout a working career, and this calls for revisiting the models and concepts of lifelong learning to create the future we want.” – Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General


What is your definition of lifelong learning? Does your company/organization adopt an official definition of lifelong learning?

Natacha Juda:

For me, my definition is quite broad, it encompasses all learning activities that are for both personal and professional development, whether informal or formal. Lifelong learning applies to all individuals, and encompasses initial education and training, as well as continuing education and training.